Dixon accepts challenge from 49ers coaches

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Dixon accepts challenge from 49ers coaches

SANTA CLARA -- When the 49ers brought in three veteran free-agent running backs for tryouts on Tuesday, it did not escape the attention of Anthony Dixon."I'm not going to say I didn't see it or I didn't hear about it," Dixon said Friday as he sat in front of his locker after practice."They want me to bring it even more. I feel like I have, but there's always room for improvement. I'm down for it, so I'm ready to go."Dixon, a sixth-round draft pick in 2010, carried the ball 70 times for 237 yards and two touchdowns in his first NFL season out of Mississippi State. But rookie fourth-round pick Kendall Hunter beat out Dixon for the backup job during training camp.
Dixon said head coach Jim Harbaugh, running backs coach Tom Rathman and special-teams coordinator Brad Seely have each challenged him to improve every aspect of his game."Coaches are just trying for me to be perfect," Dixon said. "That's the way I see it. They want me to be perfect, and we all know how hard that is to achieve. But they feel like I can do it, and I feel like I can do it.""They want me to be just that much more crisp. I'm down for it. I've accepted it (the challenge), and I'm ready to go."Dixon has been primarily a special-teams player for the 49ers. He played just two snaps of offense while starter Frank Gore and Hunter have combined to take the vast majority of the plays.On a third-and-1 on the final play of the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys, Dixon gained 6 yards off left tackle. The 49ers went on to score a touchdown on the drive. It was the only time Dixon touched the ball through four games.With Gore hobbled with an ankle sprain, Dixon expected to see some action Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. But he never got onto the field for any offensive plays."Yeah, that was disappointing," Dixon said. "It definitely threw my attitude off a little bit. He (Harbaugh) challenged me to get my attitude back in check, too. I got to work on getting my attitude back into shape and being that much more polished on my plays."While Harbaugh and the coaches have asked Dixon to turn up his level of execution, the head coach has requested that he tone down his action on special teams. Dixon said Harbaugh has told him to stop talking to the opponent's sideline after plays."It's what he wants me to do," Dixon said. "It's the Harbaugh way. I got to learn to do things the Harbaugh way, and then maybe I'll see the field some more."I'm ready. I can't wait to get the opportunity. I feel like I can bring another dimension to the offense. I just got to wait for my opportunity. . . . It kind of messes with my attitude sometimes, but I know coach wants me to get (it) right, get special teams right, be perfect on that."So how did Dixon perform in the week of practice after accepting the challenge from the 49ers' coaching staff?"I definitely picked it up, working harder," he said. "I'm just trying to get perfect and hope I can go out there and deliver a perfect performance."

Cosell: It's fascinating that Kelly clearly didn't want Kaepernick to throw

Cosell: It's fascinating that Kelly clearly didn't want Kaepernick to throw

Colin Kaepernick was benched after three quarters on Sunday.

He completed 1-of-5 passes for four yards.

"To me, what's most fascinating about that is what Chip's approach was," Greg Cosell said on KNBR 680 on Monday evening. "Chip (Kelly) clearly did not want him to throw the ball ... it was clear to me that Kaepernick does not throw a wet or a cold ball very well...

"He has small hands so I'm wondering if he just couldn't really throw the ball effectively in this kind of weather.

"Hey, Troy Aikman always said, 'I couldn't throw a wet ball.'"

Kaepernick was sacked five times for -25 total yards.

"Looking at the sacks, there were opportunities for tighter window, but NFL throws -- and first of all, I don't think Kaepernick is that guy under normal circumstances -- and my sense is, he didn't feel comfortable in this weather," Cosell added. "He certainly wasn't gonna cut it loose on those kinds of throws in this weather.

"Maybe Chip knew that, maybe he didn't. But to me, as I said, it's more fascinating that he didn't have him throw the ball at all."

Blaine Gabbert supplanted Kaepernick and completed 4-of-10 passes for 35 yards. He was sacked once.
 

After getting benched vs Bears, Colin Kaepernick to start vs Jets

After getting benched vs Bears, Colin Kaepernick to start vs Jets

Colin Kaepernick will remain as the 49ers’ starting quarterback on Sunday against the New York Jets.

Offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins made the announcement on Tuesday while coach Chip Kelly was in Maine for services for his father, E. Paul Kelly, who passed away on Friday.

Kaepernick has started the past seven games for the 49ers, during which time the club has gone winless. The 49ers (1-11) are on a franchise-long 11 game-losing streak.

Kaepernick went 1 of 5 on Sunday for just four yards in the 49ers’ 26-6 loss to the Chicago Bears. Kaepernick was also sacked five times for minus-25 yards before getting benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to be sacked five times and have fewer than 5 yards passing in the same game.

"We have been playing really good football, good football on offense and the thing had been trending in the right direction," Modkins said. "Obviously, Sunday didn’t bear that and we’ve got to go to work today and figure out how to get it back going in a direction we had it and obviously it has to be better than what it was on Sunday."

A week earlier against the Miami Dolphins, Kaepernick threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed for 113 yards as the 49ers rolled up 475 yards of total offense.

Kelly said the 49ers made the switch at quarterback early in the fourth quarter on Sunday against the Bears in hopes Gabbert would provide a spark. Gabbert started the 49ers’ first five games of the season before Kaepernick replaced him.

"Kap is going to be the starter and we’ll go from there," Modkins said. "We just decided during the game to try to see if Blaine could give us a spark. Kap is back being the starter. It’s nothing other than that.”